add a pineapple to your garden, practical and good looking
When considering growing pineapples, it would be best if you live in humid coastal lowlands in tropical and subtropical regions. Pineapples love the sunshine but fortunately they are quite adaptable. If you have a sunny, warm, sheltered and frost free position, they will cope with short periods of cool nights.
You can even grow pineapples in pots (good if you need to protect from frosts).
Pineapples are a member of the bromeliad family. So they are pretty tough, don’t need a lot of water, have a small root system and are an attractive plant (albeit prickly!).Propogating
Where to get your plants? We’ve all cut a pineapple top off and put it in the garden and then forgotten about it (umm, well I have…)
To make a pineapple cutting remove the top, peel away the outer leaves and scoop out the fruit. leave them sitting in a tray in a warm, sunny place for about a week to heal and seal.
Put it into some propagating mix. You should start to see young roots after about a month.Plantlets
You can also get little plantlets from a mature plant if you know someone who has them growing. Remove any dry leaves. Let it dry for a day or two and then plant.Planting
Have you driven past a pineapple plantation? You may notice they are planted into a ridge or raised bed. They really do like free drainage. Use well composted soil and then mulch. Use sugar cane, lucerne (alfalfa) or straw for your mulch.
Most pineapple plants grow quite large – 1 to 1.5 metres high and over a metre wide. Leave space between your rows as they can be quite prickly!Care
While they don’t need much water, if they don’t get enough you may notice smaller fruit.
When Growing Pineapples remember that they do not like wet roots or frosts. If you live in a frost prone area, consider growing one in a pot so you can move it inside on winter nights, or cover it up.
If your pineapple leaves have a reddish, purple tinge then your pineapple will need a bit of organic fertilizer.
Use a fish emulsion or seaweed fertilizer watered down and water the plant and surrounding soil. Bromeliads take a lot of their goodness in through their leaves.
Wikipedia has a list of Pests and Diseases that affect pineapples. Watch out for mealy bugs. These are white furry little critters.
Watch out for rats and ants – they like the sugar!When Can You Eat Them
Well, unfortunately not right away. These are a long term project.
Growing Pineapples from a plantlet will be a lot quicker (12 – 18 months) than the “cut off the top” method (24 months or more in colder areas).
Other factors include your climate and how well they are looked after. After your plant has flowered, it will be about another 6 months before the fruit is matured.
Cut the plant when it is yellow.
Pineapples contain Manganese, Vitamin C and Vitamin B1 (and taste great with ice cream!).
What can you do with the pineapple top? Plant it of course! Growing Pineapples would be a great addition to your Organic Vegetable Garden.
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